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Rematch on deck for SOGC men’s senior semifinals

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Kevin Klabunde and Marty Morlan will meet again Sunday after facing off in 2020 title match

By Kevin Klabunde’s standards, Friday’s round left plenty of room for improvement, but it was good enough for the 11-time Southern Oregon Golf Championships winner to move on to Sunday’s semifinals and keep his title defense intact.

The top seed in the men’s senior championship flight defeated No. 8 Dale Voelz, 3 and 2, and will next face fourth-seeded Marty Morlan in a rematch of the 2020 finals. On Friday, Klabunde closed out the match against Voelz on the 16th hole at Rogue Valley Country Club to end an up and down round for both players.

“It was a very scrappy, ragged round of golf,” Klabunde said. “I had some misfortunes with my putter ... I hit three three-putts and then missed another 18-incher. I’ve got to get more serious about getting that ball in the hole.

“I guess you play as good as you have to to win the match, and I did that.”

Voelz made an early surge by winning three straight holes on the front nine, but a couple of extra strokes would come back to haunt him later. For Klabunde, the real turning point came on the par-3 13th, where he reached the green and had a long putt within a couple inches of the hole for par, while Voelz chipped onto the green but missed a putt to tie the hole. That put Klabunde 2 up.

Then on the 14th, Klabunde holed out for an eagle from 148 yards away. He didn’t see the shot go in, but thought it might have judging by the cheers he heard from a small group near the hole. Glen Clark, watching from a cart to the right of the green, remarked that Klabunde’s shot rolled into the hole like a putt after landing 10 feet away.

Up three with four holes to play, Klabunde had a chance to close out the match on the 15th, but missed a putt inside of 2 feet to give Voelz one last chance.

But Klabunde landed on the par-5 16th hole in two shots, while Voelz’s second shot found the water hazard to the left of the green, all but securing the win for the No. 1 seed.

“I had a lot of chances, I just didn’t take advantage of them,” said Voelz, a Vancouver, Washington, resident who grew up in Medford and last played the SOGC in 1979.

While Klabunde and Voelz finished, Morlan was in the midst of a battle with Eric Austad, who nearly charged back from a three-hole deficit with five holes to play, including an eagle putt on the 16th that added more pressure for Morlan. But Morlan, leading 1 up going into the 18th, hit a long drive just short of the green and calmly closed out the match to move on to Sunday.

“I just tried to hang in there and just keep my wits about me and see if I could hang on for dear life,” Morlan said. “That’s what I did. I trusted my swing and it paid off.”

Klabunde and Morlan played a neck-and-neck round in the 2020 finals and were all square heading to the 18th hole. Klabunde clinched the win by converting a par on the 18th after Morlan had to settle for bogey.

“Sooner or later, if I keep opening that door I’m going to walk through it,” Morlan said. “I’m hoping I can finally walk through it. But Kevin, he’s one of the toughest players out here — he’s won so many times. But I’ve got to win some time ... and I feel pretty confident, so hopefully I can pull it out.”

With an off day before Sunday morning’s semifinal, Klabunde said his focus will be on putting, noting that the RVCC greens have already firmed up and become faster from earlier in the week.

“(I’m) cautiously optimistic about my game on Sunday,” he said.

Elsewhere in Friday’s action, the men’s regular top seed Mike Barry was upset by No. 16 Mayson Tibbs, who won 4 and 3 over the four-time SOGC champion. Tibbs, from Prineville who played at Oregon Tech, appeared in the 2019 finals but ultimately lost 4 and 3 to Ashland’s Matt Hedges. Tibbs will face eighth-seeded R.O. Gamez this morning in the quarterfinals.

The men’s junior-senior featured an interesting secound round matchup between No. 2 Tommy Smith and No. 18 Johnny Mansfield, who won in 2019. The two were all sqaure after 18 holes, before Smith picked up the win on the second playoff hole. Smith is set to face No. 26 Russell Horn, who took care of business against Mike Snowden, 6 and 5.

The women’s championship will resume today in the quarterfinals with a showdown between Trina Jones and Johnna Nealy, a pair that has a combined five SOGC titles between them. Payton Canon is the top seed in the flight after shooting a sensational 69 in her qualiying round to earn medalist honors. Canon will face Marla Parmele.

In the men’s super senior, today’s semifinals matchups feature top seed Bob Dickey facing Kenneth Collman and Glen Clark squaring off against Glenn Hartzheim.

The men’s legends semifinals, also taking placetoday, will feature George Mack and Bob Maentz, as well as Dan Dixon and Jim Hatton.

Tournament scoring can be followed on golfgenius.com with the sign-in code SOGC2021.

SOUTHERN OREGON GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS

Friday results as of press time

Men’s Championship Flight

Mayson Tibbs def. Mike Barry 4&3, R.O. Gamez def. Oliver Ausland 4&2, Joey Rossknecht def. Jordan Highland 4&3, Michael Leonard def. Travis Campoy 3&2, Ethan DeVore def. Preston Luckman 2&1, Mark Wilson Jr. def. Jordan Jacobs 2&1, Chris Polski def. Ryan Suvoy 2&1, Cameron Smith def. Charlie Tran 1 up

Men’s First Flight

Calvin Maready def. Travis Brink 2&1, Gerry Snyder def. Henry Jones 3&2, Benjamin Purtzer def. Matthew Preston 4&3, Edward Smith def. Kristopher Kaufman 19th, Jonathon Purtzer def. Danny Angelucci 19th, Braden Shipley def. Michael Wurzell 2&1, Seth Walters def. Scott Okon 6&4, Jacob Henderson def. Garrett Doolen 3&2

Junior/Senior Championship Flight

Todd Couch def. Jeff Morgan 1 up, Bryan White def. Jeff Barry 2&1, Michael Stieler def. Michael Vanderhoff 1 up, Trevor Telford def. Alfonso Powers 1 up, Tommy Smith def. Johnny Mansfield 3&2, Russell Horn def. Mike Snowden 2&1, Cameron Mitchell def. Brandon Crosier 1 up, Greg Findley def. Frank Baracao 4&3

Junior/Senior First Flight

Alan Peterson def. Larry Miller 1 up, Morgan Hawkins def. John Pollok 1 up, Keith Lallo def. Bryan Wheelock 1 up, Justin Wise def. Darrell Flora Jr. 1 up, Mark McUne def. Geoff Loomis 2&1, Matt Eschenbacher def. Bret Breeze 1 up, Richard Owens def. Omer Kem 1 up, Scott Wise def. Ralph Wallis 1 up

Junior/Senior Second Flight

Erik Pedersen def. Joe Arneson 1 up, Rob Neff def. Eric Engelbach 1 up, Will Riddle def. Paul Sanderson 2&3, James Russell def. Eric Bruhn 1 up, Scott VanWey def. Benny Shapiro 19th, Ian Powers def. Dennis Richards 5&4, Michael O’Connell def. Justin Azevedo 2&1, Duane Mataczynski def. Billie Burke 2&1

Junior/Senior Fourth Flight

Mike Walker def. James Cranford 1 up, Charles Day def. Derron Moreland 5&4, Kevin Jones def. Alex Clark 23rd, Daryn Clark def. Joshua Huffman 1 up, Tom Jones def. Ron Stranahan 1 up, Steve Tollefson def. John Couch 6&5, Ryan Kantor def. Brooks Card 1 up, Robert Glover def. Randy Croucher 7&6

Junior/Senior Sixth Flight

Robin Blanks def. Darrell Thompson 1 up, Rodney Muller def. Chris Dufour 6&4, Greg Jacobs def. Heykel Aouriri 4&2, Jeremy Payne def. Rick Miller 5&4, Ed Lindbloom def. John Candy 1 up, Jim Retzlaff def. Robert Lindbloom 2&1, Joe Davis def. Josh Godfrey 1 up, Mirek Bobek def. Chad Orr 3&2

Junior/Senior Eighth Flight

Joe Hunter def. Tim Price 4&3, Kevin Primerano def. James Figueroa 1 up, Russ Wilson def. Ken Lindbloom 1 up, Dean Kinney def. Jack Adams 9&7, Brian Sherrill def. Fred Paris 1 up, Michael Burrill def. Jad Dickson 1 up, Jason Miller def. David Tucker 1 up, Jason Rowan def. Jim Stormo 1 up

Senior Championship Flight

Kevin Klabunde def. Dale Voelz 3&2, Marty Morlan def. Eric Austad 1 up, Craig Knips def. Lee Oltjenbruns 3&2, John Justin def. Todd Dixon 19th

Senior First Flight

Terry Wolf def. Preston Stanley 2&1, Kevin Dixon def. David Card 1 up, Bret Mackay def. Brent Barr 3&4, Rick Dollarhide def. Jim Mansfield 1 up

Senior Second Flight

David Kaplan def. Darrell Lewis 2&1, Tom Pepple def. Jeff Fish 2&1, Joel Jessel def. David Voss 1 up, Scott Moore def. Eric Hansen 19th

Senior Third Flight

Richard Warner def. Tim Trower 20th, Chris Littleton def. Tony Nieto 1 up, Gary Loeb def. Eddie Bostwick 2 up, Joe Bowles def. Erick Doolen 2&1

Senior Fourth Flight

John DeMario def. Randy Rupert 1 up, Rich Mettler def. David Bermudez 1 up, Bruce Mendelson def. Kelly Wilson 5&4, Todd Raduski def. Brian Odell 2&1

Senior Fifth Flight

Carl Wolfe def. Dave Mettler 3&1, Jim Palazzolo def. George Johnston 1 up, Joe Oravec def. Brian Bueoy 5&4, Larry Conkings def. Jeff Hamlett 2&1

Senior Sixth Flight

Kevin Tucker def. Jeff Proulx 2 up, Ron Pierce def. David Blake 4&3, Phillip Heiner def. Stacy Wallace 1 up, Michael Slavenski def. Tom Mayer 4&2

Senior Seventh Flight

Tim Powers Bye, Dwight Shriver def. Allen Carlson 1 up, Scott Sterton def. Stephen Alexander 1 up, Greg Wojtal def. Craig Schumacher 1 up

Super Senior Championship Flight

Bob Dickey def. David George 1 up, Kenneth Collman def. Evan McArthur 1 up, Glen Clark def. Brian Schlafke 1 up, Glenn Hartzheim def. Gary Bates 3&2

Super Senior First Flight

Doug Ward def. Robert Cox 3&2, Paul Reynolds def. David Orr 1 up, John Johnson def. Eric Jensen 18th, Robert Stassi def. Doug Engle 3&2

Super Senior Second Flight

Billy Crenshaw def. Rob Staggenborg 1 up, Gregory Miller def. Ronald Moore 3&2, Todd Jensen def. Jerry Eklund 1 up, Scott Tuttle def. Kelly Brown 1 up

Super Senior Third Flight

Mike Armitage def. Allen Raduski 1 up, Larry Butler def. Curt Bennett 1 up, John Dunkin def. Tom Powley 1 up, Bruce Hart def. James Garrison 2&1

Super Senior Fourth Flight

Mel Friend def. Neill Smith 2&1, Doug Hartley def. Doug Olson, John Kruesi def. Scott Mayfield 1 up, Mark Wilson def. Patrick Daggitt 3&2

Super Senior Fifth Flight

John Leuthold def. Brian Schmitz 1 up, Bill Allen def. Darrell Flora Sr. 1 up, John Liston def. Kevin Aguirre 4&2, James Bacigalupi def. Stan Sherer 7&6

Super Senior Sixth Flight

Rick Widlund def. Steve Polus 1 up, Keith Jensen def. Tom Michaels 3&1, Gerald Carstens def. Gary Sterton 1 up, Scott Swendiman def. Ronald Norgan 1 up

Super Senior Seventh Flight

Tom Urby def. Fritz Lagergren 4&2, Dave Allen def. Ron Harvey 2&1, Ross Cooley def. Bud Adler 4&3, Conrad Caprez def. Tom Groves 2&1

Super Senior Eighth Flight

Mike Snyder def. Gary Wood 2&1, Chuck Kenney def. Mark Fawver 1 up, Mark Pagan def. Henry Burgoyne 3&2, Roger Peck def. Tim Wray 2&1

Super Senior Ninth Flight

Patrick O’Brien def. Rodger Campuzano 4&3, Darrell Hunt def. Brent Orrico 19th, John Rowan def. George Parsons 2&1, Eugene Miller def. Steve Warrington 6&5

Legends Championship Flight

George Mack def. Larry Garvin 1 up, Bob Maentz def. Dodd Samuel 5&4, Dan Dixon def. Richard Brekke 2&1, Jim Hatton def Tom Hamlin 4&3

Legends Second Flight

Bruce McDonald def. Michael Goldman 3&2, Bruce Wood def. Ron Dixon 4&3, Gordan Empey def. Jim Hauck 1 up, Dick Entinger def. Len Merryman 1 up

Legends Fourth Flight

Lael Collins def. David Rasmussen 5&4, John Ferris def. Dwight Samuel 2&1, Cliff Barnett def. Dar Wolber 1 up, Phil Gossner def. Dave Mansfield 1 up

Reach reporter Will Denner at 541-776-4479 or wdenner@mailtribune.com

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneKevin Klabunde reacts to his ball stopping short of the cup during the Southern Oregon Golf Championships at the Rogue Valley Country Club Friday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneKevin Klabunde hits from the fairway the Southern Oregon Golf Championships at the Rogue Valley Country Club Friday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneKevin Klabunde rsinks a long putt on the 1st hole during the Southen Oregon Golf Championhip at the Rogue Valley Country Club Friday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneKevin Klabunde chips on to the 2nd green during the Southern Oregon Golf Championship at the Rogue Valley Country Club Friday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMarty Morlan tees off during the Southern Oregon Golf Championships at the Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford Friday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneDale Voelz tees off a par 3 hole during the Southern Oregon Golf Championships at the Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford Friday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneDale Voelz hits a putt during the Southern Oregon Golf Championships at the Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford Friday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneDale Voelz hits a putt during the Southern Oregon Golf Championships at the Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford Friday.